Mud, Glorious Mud!
The drizzly conditions didn’t seem to dampen the festive spirits of Tadley Runners, as they donned Santa hats to help out at their 26th annual Christmas Cross Country Race (or was it to shield them from the pre-race rain?) Nor were the 164 competitors put off by the “extremely muddy” reputation of the new course which was introduced last year. Recent downpours ensured that the course didn’t disappoint on that front! During the 5.2 mile course the runners experienced a wide variety of terrain – woodland paths, very boggy water meadows, fields, hills, a stream and a very generous supply of mud! All finishers were rewarded for their efforts with the usual cup of homemade soup, and a commemorative mug.
The winner, Alex Hamilton, of local club Basingstoke and Mid Hants AC, achieved a time of 32.05 (only 31 seconds slower than the course record set last year), followed by James Voaden, unattached, who finished in 35.33. Hot on James’ heels was William Collie, unattached, who finished 10 seconds later in 35.43.
Nick Onslow, of Bramley Trail Runners, performed an impressive sprint finish to win the M40 age category prize with a time of 36.08. Peter Hardman of Datchet Dashers won the M50 prize in 39.48, and the M60 prize was snapped up again by Richard Shaw, unattached, with an impressive 40.58. Richard’s time was nearly 4 minutes quicker than last year!
The ladies race was won by another Basingstoke & Mid Hants AC runner, Rhiannon Perrymen with a brilliant time of 39.45, followed by fellow club runner Mitch Lloyd (40.11). Amelie Hunton of Ranleigh Harriers crossed the line in third place achieving a time of 41.19. The ladies’ age-graded prizes went to Christina Gustafson of Tri20 for the F35 category (44.55), Caroline Bamford of Hungerford Hares for F45 (46.49) and Sally Waterman, unattached, won the F55 category with a time of 50.47. Sally also won this prize last year, and has managed to improve her time from last year by over a minute, no mean feat in those muddy conditions.
The Team prize went to Basingstoke & Mid Hants AC, represented by Alex Hamilton, Marc Soane and Rhiannon Perrymen.
Tadley Runners are a small, friendly local running club. Their next race is the popular Tadley Summer 10k race and Kids Fun Run held in July. For more information about the club, visit www.tadleyrunners.co.uk.